At the end of the summer, the real beauty of North Idaho starts to show. Our fall climate is just what you would expect, warm days and cool nights. The average daytime temperature is 61° with the nights cooling off to the mid 40’s. As the days grow shorter, Mother Nature starts to work her magic. The trees start their annual display of color that continues until late November. Rainfall picks up in the fall months with the average being 3 inches per month. Fall is a beautiful time to be outside, come and join us!
Fall Activities to Enjoy:
Take a Hike
North Idaho’s parks and back country are laced with trails, many leading to lakes or streams, and most offering magnificent viewpoints. Here is just a sampling that are easily accessible to walking and hiking enthusiasts:
Centennial Trail is a paved, comfortable course for walkers, runners, cyclists and skaters. From the Washington state line the trail roughly follows the Spokane River through Post Falls, along Northwest Boulevard through City Park and downtown Coeur d’Alene. The eastern end of the trail hugs the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene with numerous picnic tables, exercise stations, and rest stops all the way to Higgins Point – a climb that is worth the extra effort to view Beauty Bay.
Tubbs Hill features outstanding viewpoints, woodland habitats and historical focal points. The self-guided walk follows a two-mile loop, beginning and ending at the south end of the parking lot between Mc Euen Park and the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Allow about two hours for the hike and wear comfortable shoes as the trail is rocky and steep in some area.
Mineral Ridge Trail is a 3.3 mile path that is an outdoor classroom in the forest. There are 22 stations numbered along the trail identifying features found naturally at Mineral Ridge. The trail climbs 735 feet to an elevation of 2,875 feet, for a spectacular view of Lake Coeur d’Alene and surrounding mountains. The trail begins at Beauty Bay and is accessed off of Highway 97.
Q’emiln Trail in Post Falls is home to Marmots, Osprey and other wildlife. The set of 14 trails starts at South City Park and winds through four miles of the Spokane River gorge. A map at the trailhead marks the route.
Horse Rides, Hay Rides and Sleigh Rides
There’s no better way to catch the true flavor of the West than from the back of a horse. A variety of rides are offered throughout North Idaho. They range from gentle mountain trails for beginners to authentic “trail boss guided” evening rides complete with western suppers and classic carriages and sleighs for special occasions year round. Rider Ranch (10 minutes from Coeur d’Alene) offers a day of life on a working ranch, riding and a family barn night complete with an open fire BBQ. Western Pleasure Guest Ranch (15 minutes from Sandpoint) has cabin rentals along with year round equine adventures. Other area businesses offering dude-ranch style services, guided rail rides, overnight stays or hourly rides are Hidden Creek Ranch (Harrison), Bridal Path Manor Bed & Breakfast (Hayden Lake), and Mountain View Ranch (Athol).
The mountains of the Coeur d’Alenes are known for their abundance of huckleberries, a round, purple berry native to North Idaho. Sunlight enhances production, so the best berry picking is usually found along abandoned logging roads, in areas where timber has been harvested or terrain where forest fires have occurred. When venturing into the forest, remember bears like berries too. High in carbohydrates, they are one of the primary food sources for grizzly and black bear. If you encounter, or see the presence of a bear, it is best to retreat and not infringe on the bear’s “berry territory.” The huckleberry is a low erect shrub ranging from one to five feet tall. By mid June berries on south facing lower slopes are ripe. Good picking as late as October on North slopes.
Watch the Eagles
Beginning in late November, migrant populations of bald eagles arrive at Wolf Lodge Bay at the east end of Lake Coeur d’Alene as well as numerous locations on Lake Pend Oreille. Waters are rich with salmon that have spawned and died, offering the eagles an abundant winter food source. The eagles, which can easily be viewed from I-90 near Wolf Lodge area or Hwy 2 between Sandpoint and Hope, normally depart the area in late January.
For a calendar of Fall events, visit www.fyinorthidaho.com